Plans for new country park at Welbeck move forward

Up to 6,000 trees will be planted at Welbeck this winter, as Wakefield Council continues taking steps towards creating a new country park.

By Leanne Clarke
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 10:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 10:52 am
Last year the council reaffirmed its commitment to transform former the landfill site into an area of outstanding conservation and biodiversity.
Last year the council reaffirmed its commitment to transform former the landfill site into an area of outstanding conservation and biodiversity.

Last year the council reaffirmed its commitment to transform former the landfill site into an area of outstanding conservation and biodiversity.

While plans are still being drawn up for the country park, work has already begun at the site, with planting of woodland areas.

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Coun Jack Hemingway, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Green Spaces, has been helping council staff and volunteers to plant trees at Welbeck.

He said: “We’re committed to transforming the Welbeck site into a new country park for the benefit of the local community and whole district.

“It’s a long-term project and we want to fully involve local groups and the community as plans progress, with the intention of consultation taking place later this year. But by planting thousands of trees we’re making a start on turning an exciting vision into reality and helping reach our target of being carbon neutral.

Developing this country park will go towards creating spaces that are central to the health and wellbeing of communities and nature.

The council is planting up to 60,000 trees across the district during the winter planting season, which runs from November to March.

It is part of the council ambitious plans to increase tree cover and bring 90% of known ancient woodland within the district back into sustainable management . This will involve the planting up of up to 3,250,000 trees on 1,300 hectares of land. The equivalent of 1,800 football pitches by 2050.

The new trees are a mixture of predominantly native broadleaved trees and native coniferous trees. Species have been carefully selected to suit the ground conditions and environment that they will grow in.

The planting is part of the council’s contribution to the White Rose Forest project, across West and North Yorkshire. The project is to connect communities with nature, create new habitats for wildlife and help our district adapt to climate change.

The council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, published its Climate Change Action Plan in 2021 and has set a commitment to become a carbon neural organisation by 2030.

It also declared an Ecological and Biodiversity Emergency in 2021. Trees capture carbon, create habitats for wildlife and make our communities more able to cope with and mitigate the effects of climate change, like flooding.